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The Inside Edge with Sarah and Drew - Jan. 15

Left feet, morning news shows and Japanese fans

2010 U.S. men's champion Jeremy Abbott hangs out in the green room at <i>The Today Show</i>.
2010 U.S. men's champion Jeremy Abbott hangs out in the green room at The Today Show. (Lynn Rutherford)

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By Sarah S. Brannen and Drew Meekins, special to icenetwork.com
(01/15/2010) - Sarah Brannen and Drew Meekins share the latest dish from Spokane.

Evan's left foot
Evan Lysacek had an informal little press conference backstage yesterday afternoon. He talked a lot about his training, and said he feels as prepared as he has ever been. His foot injury isn't completely healed, though; he said "The main damage is in the nerves, although the stress fracture and muscles have healed. I'm trying not to push it to the point of pain. When it gets damp in L.A. I complain about my foot, and hip, and back..."

Evan said he is planning to put his quad back in the long program on Sunday, although he didn't make promises. He says he does three quads a day, and in the last ten days he has hit all three every day but one. He used to train more like ten a day, but he's trying to be kind to his foot.

We caught most of the men's practices yesterday. Adam Rippon did a nearly clean run-through, although another skater accidentally got in his way just before his second triple Axel and he had to leave it out. He shrugged at Brian Orser, as if to say "Sorry"!

Johnny Weir took a weird and dramatic backward fall on footwork during his short program run-through yesterday. In true diva fashion, he sold it to the end -- he rolled upside down and vamped a little before he got up. He did the whole thing with so much style that the audience applauded. Later, a TV reporter sat down with us and asked us what the move was called -- apparently she thought is was choreographed. We caught the moment and it's in the photo gallery.

Brandon Mroz and Ryan Bradley both had super long program run-throughs. Ryan was nearly clean, with two quads and a triple Axel. His only mistake was a doubled triple Lutz. Mroz was also hot stuff, landing his quad and triple Axel. Ryan had to do a TV interview later in the afternoon and we hung out with him before and after, talking about flu shots and contemporary dance. Sarah got her paparazzi on and started snapping photos of Ryan mid-sentence. Apparently, this made Ryan a little uptight, so we told him to "look natural" while we took some pictures and he came up with the pose you can see in the photo gallery.

After brunch this morning (we don't believe in breakfast) we hit the gym, because some of us have partners to audition in the coming months... We ran into Parker Pennington, who was getting his pre-short program chi on with a little yoga. Between poses, we talked a lot about the current judging system, and ended by agreeing that we like the direction it's taking ice dancing. Parker said that it's become one of the most interesting and original disciplines in skating nowadays.

Later, we discussed the depth of the men's event this evening. "It's almost feels more like a world championship, rather than just a national championship," Parker confessed. "There are about seven or eight guys who deserve to be on the team, and could do well there!"

And, in other manly news: Shaun Rogers appears to have dyed his hair black. Oh! And Johnny wore a weird and wonderful practice outfit yesterday: purple shirt, black knit corset, black tights, thigh-high leg-warmers. We don't think anyone else could have pulled it off but of course Mr. Weir did.

Morning News
We were contacted a couple of days ago by the local NBC affiliate, KHQ TV, to see if we would do a live interview for their morning news program. We said "Of course," and then they told us it would be a 6:00 a.m.! But, we're troupers so we got up at 5:30 a.m., made a desperate coffee run, and met the producer, anchor Sean Owsley and weatherman George Maupin in the lobby of the Davenport Hotel. It was a little surreal, and we have no idea what we said, but the whole crew was really nice. Sarah went for a brisk morning walk afterward, and Drew went back to bed.

Japan
We met a couple of lovely fans who flew in from Japan just for the championships. Rei Nishimoto and Rika Komobuchi told us they started following skating at the 2002 Salt Lake City games. They're just here for the first weekend, since they came mostly to see Johnny, Jeremy, Adam and, oops, Drew, skate. Drew spent some time with them to try and make up for not being out on the ice this time around. We asked them if they skate themselves, and they laughed nervously.

"No, unfortunately," said Rika. "I tried but I can't."

Pro
Professional pair skater Stephanie Kuban is here for the event; you may remember that she used to skate with Steven Elefante. Steph has been skating on a Royal Caribbean ship, "Freedom of the Seas," lately, and she loves it. "It's the most amazing experience I've had in my life this far," she said. "I almost wish I could have had a year of show skating and then gone back to competing, because I feel like I have learned so much." She'll be going back onto the seas again in a couple of months, this time on the enormous "Oasis."

Canadian coach (and former pair skater) Lyndon Johnston kept rushing over to our computer, all a-twitter with nerves and excitement, to catch the live results and protocols from the Canadian championships. He promises to come back tomorrow, probably more nervous than ever.

Olympic champion sightings:
1. Scott Hamilton, affably signing autographs for fans.
2. Chef Brian Boitano, checking into his hotel.

Enjoy the competition today! We're in the stands watching; isn't it funny that all of Dalilah Sappenfield's teams are in the last warm-up group?
More tomorrow,
Sarah and Drew
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